Because I am simply fascinated with the artistic members of the family, seeing as they fit right in with my own passion, I have been trying to sort out the photography studio group and how it all began.
From what I can tell so far Marcus Eyth came to Pennsylvania around 1850 and settled into the Butler county area. This family started up several different businesses and ran them successfully. Francis Eyth, son of Marcus, ran a hotel in Centreville from 1870 until his death in 1916, called the “Eyth Hotel” and a Daguerreotype studio in the city of Butler around 1860.
Bernardina Eyth, daughter of Marcus, would marry Ulrich West in Butler county and have a son Jacob in 1848. I suspect that young Jacob took a shine to what his Uncle Francis did in his photography studio and decided when he came of age to pursue the career. In the 1870 census he was listed as a photographer. Jacob would marry Mary M Zuver in 1870 and she would join in the photography business and eventually become very popular in Bradford, Pa.
Mary’s two younger brothers Lewis W Zuver and Leander L Zuver would also catch the photography bug. Lewis in the 1880 Census and Leander in the 1910 Census would list themselves as a photographer.
Jacob and Mary would build their careers in the McKean county area, specifically in Bradford, Pa. Mary’s brothers can be found listed with studios from Olean, NY, just north of Bradford across the Pennsylvania line as far south in Pennsylvania as Pittsburgh. Leander or “Dick” as his friends referred to him had the shortest career in the photography business. His brother Lewis seemed to have been more creative in his approach to his chosen career.
In 1885 Lewis and a man named Atherly had small steamboat built in order to hawk their wares in the river from Olean, NY to Pittsburgh, PA. This path would allow them to hit some of the busiest oil centers in Pennsylvania including, Warren, Oil City, Tidioute, Tionesta and Franklin. In the 1885 papers I found these articles on the new scheme.
The Olean Democrat (Olean, New York) > 1885 > March > 10
The Cattaraugus Union says that an Allegany Steamer is now being built on the river bank just below the bridge, which when completed will be commanded by commodore L. W. Zuver, who will proceed down the river, stopping at all desirable points for the purpose of doing some fine work in photography. Zuver is a first class artist, and we think his scheme is a good one. Another boat, lower down the river, is nearly completed by Mr. Martin, for the same purpose.
Titusville Herald, March 13, 1885
A man named Zuver is building a photography gallery on a small steamboat which will run up and down the Alleghany River next season, stopping for a few days at a time at the principal places.
The Olean Democrat (Olean, New York) > 1885 > April > 28
Messrs. Zuver and Atherly have their photograph boat completed and launched. Everything is in satisfactory condition, and they will soon set out on their journey. We expect they will secure a fine gallery of views, while they "Sail and they Sail."
Although it is a guess that the Zuvers and the Wests began their careers because of a member of the Eyth family, I still think it may be a pretty close call. Lewis would continue to enjoyt he photography profession until selling out to H. S. Sheffler in 1910 and moving to St. Petersburg, Florida.
Mary would sell her business, after Jacob’s death, in Bradford, Pennsylvania in 1906 to Howard Spangler and move to Butler to live with her family in 1907.